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ICBC and Vernon RCMP help residents protect their vehicles from auto crime

February 28, 2013

crime

Today, ICBC, Vernon RCMP and crime prevention volunteers teamed up to launch the Operation Lock Up program to help residents protect their older model vehicles from being stolen by providing them with free steering wheel locks.

Since 2003, police enforcement and increased customer awareness plus legislation requiring immobilizers in all new vehicles, has led to a significant reduction in overall auto crime in B.C., including an 18 per cent decrease in auto theft in Vernon in 2012 compared to 2011.

However, thieves are constantly looking for any opportunity and will often target specific communities or neighbourhoods. For instance, in 2008, vehicle theft incidents in Vernon suddenly spiked by 43 per cent after four consecutive years of decreases.

"Being a victim of auto crime is much more than an inconvenience, it can have a significant impact on families and the safety of our communities," said Mary Polak, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. "The safety of B.C. families is our top priority. ICBC's Operation Lock Up is a great initiative that reminds drivers to be proactive in protecting themselves from auto crime."

"Operation Lock Up gives drivers in Vernon the tools they need to fight back against auto theft and crime, and prevent car thieves from targeting their vehicles," said Shirley Bond, Minister of Justice and Attorney General. "Operation Lock Up and B.C.'s other anti-auto theft programs have been extremely successful over the last decade, with a 73 per cent reduction in auto theft across the province. I encourage anyone who qualifies to take advantage of this program."

The following are the most common vehicles targeted by thieves in the Southern Interior.

  • Ford F-Series (2003-2006)
  • Chrysler (Dodge/Plymouth) Ram (1996, 2001)
  • Chevrolet/GMC Silverado/Sierra (1996, 1998)
  • Honda Civic (1998, 2000)
  • Dodge Jeep Dakota Cherokee/Grand Cherokee (1992, 1994, 1995, 1998, 2002)
  • Ford Explorer (1997, 2001)
  • Chrysler (Dodge/Plymouth) Caravan/Voyager (1992, 1994, 1998)
  • Ford Ranger (1989, 2002)
  • Volkswagen Jetta (1986, 2008)

Beginning February 28, 2013, community police volunteers will provide free steering wheel locks, while supplies last, to local residents who own these targeted vehicles and other pre-2001 vehicles not equipped with an immobilizer.

Local Vernon residents can obtain a steering wheel lock by bringing their vehicle registration to:

  • Vernon Community Policing Office, #101 - 3334, 30th Avenue, Vernon
    8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., Monday to Friday

We want to help protect our customers in Vernon who own older vehicles, as these vehicles are more at risk of being stolen," said Christine Silver, ICBC road safety coordinator for Vernon. "We're proud of this award-winning initiative - less auto crime creates safer communities and helps us keep our rates as low as possible."

"Thieves continue to target older model vehicles simply because they are the easiest to steal when they're not equipped with an anti-theft device," said Inspector Jim McNamara, Vernon RCMP. "Protecting your vehicle with a steering wheel lock is the most cost effective way of reducing your risk of being the victim of auto crime."

"This is a truly integrated effort that helps make our community safer," said Rob Sawatzky, Mayor, City of Vernon. "We all need to remain vigilant and do our part to help prevent auto crime in our neighbourhoods."

In addition to using an anti-theft device, you can protect yourself from auto crime by parking in secure, well lit areas, always locking your doors, removing all valuables and keeping your keys in a safe place.

For more tips on how to protect your vehicle from thieves, visit icbc.com.

Media contacts:

Christine Silver
250-212-5119

Regan Borisenko
Vernon Community Policing
250-550-7847